Vegan already? Excellent! Then keep calm, vegan on, and scroll down for latest post.
Vegan already? Excellent! Then keep calm, vegan on, and scroll down for latest post.
Well! As some of you may have noticed, Typepad had a few hiccups of late. Actually, it got hacked, and blogs with their own domain name such as havegonevegan, were looking abandoned. If you tried to comment, or even read, you probably got the message "domain unknown." Unfortunate, and I'm sorry for any inconvenience. It looks like it's been fixed now, but you never know, and I can't swear it won't happen again. But please DO know that I would never ditch this blog without giving you fair warning, or leaving some kind of farewell message, as that just ain't my style.
So, back to regular programming. You all know what day it is today, right? :)
The Earth is what we all have in common. --WENDELL BERRY
Indeed. And all includes all humans (not just those living in North America), all members of Kingdom Animalia (yes, that includes insects), and members of the plant kingdom. We all call this place home, use her resources without always giving back, and leave our collective footprints for better or worse, so let's start sharing this planet nicely and wisely already.
As you may have noticed, snort, I wasn't in the best of moods the other day. It was a bummer of a post, I'll admit, and afterwards I felt bad and wondered if I should have just kept it to myself. On the other hand, every vegan is familiar with the inevitable mix of hope and despair that's part of the journey when you're in it for the long haul, so why not be more transparent about it? Because I sometimes wonder if part of the problem with ex-vegans is that they didn't share their doubts and frustrations along the way. Instead, they seem to keep whatever is going on with them so close to the chest that when they do renounce veganism (which I still think in part is due to compassion fatigue and burnout for at least some of them) it comes as a complete shock to us. Maybe if they had been more forthcoming about their struggle, others could have helped before it was too late.
Today I'm definitely in better spirits. Ended up trying the Tofurky Vegetarian Feast for the first time yesterday, and even shared some with my huge-eater-of-meat mom who declared it delicious. And while I don't expect her to change food choices at her age, it's nice to see her be more accepting of the choices that I make.
But the main reason of this post is that I wanted to share some quotes I've read of late that may help inspire other vegans if they happen to be on the downturn of the roller coaster ride. And in honour of Spring, renewal, and the adventure of being vegan. :)
An activist is someone who cannot help but fight for something. That person is not usually motivated by a need for power, or money, or fame but in fact driven slightly mad by some injustice, some cruelty, some unfairness. So much so that he or she is compelled by some internal moral engine to act to make it better. --EVE ENSLER
Warriors must always focus on the action rather than the result. We do what we do because we cannot imagine not doing it. I never think about winning or losing… What matters is that all of your energy be directed towards achieving your goals… What matters is what you do today. --PAUL WATSON
In this struggle, there is no room for self-pity and we cannot afford the luxury of pessimism. Courageous, imaginative and passionate people can turn the impossible into the possible. Those people are you, me and anyone who has the desire to change things. --PAUL WATSON
When I look out into the world, I see the forces that would bring us disaster. I see the deep night of unthinkable cruelty and blindness. But I also look within the human heart and find something of love there, something that cares and shines out into the dark universe like a bright beacon. And in the shining of that light, I feel the dreams and prayers of all beings. In the shining of that beacon I feel all of our hopes for a better future, and the strength to do what we are here to do. --JOHN ROBBINS
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Actually, that's putting it politely, but I didn't want to start by swearing. And while I don't want to feel hatred towards fellow human animals, I ain't feelin' much love today either. In fact, I'm sick and tired. Sick of people, who, for instance:
I'm also fed up with:
Plus I'm tired of the excuses. Oh, but they just don't know. Oh, but we were ignorant once too. It's habit. Tradition. Culture. Religion. Common practice. Deeply ingrained and part of our social fabric. All true perhaps, but people aren't stupid. Just how much information do they need? How many millions of pamphlets do we have to distribute already? And how many billions more animals will be sacrificed before humans finally get their shit together?
Bah, I'm sick of it! Because truth be told many people DO know, but don't give a crap. People as top of the food chain? Bottom of the moral chain is more like it. I'm tired of the ignorance, stupidity and apathy. The willful disregard and callous contempt. The human animal is indeed the cruelest beast of all, and we're really not that civilized or advanced. I'm also tired of being polite about it. Or patient. And for what? What is THAT accomplishing?
Nope, not feeling particularly friendly toward humans today. Jesus died for our sins? Please. The way we treat other species is the biggest sin of all, and no human or deity can wash that away. I WAS going to work on my "why aren't more Christians vegan" post this weekend, but I'm not in the mood. But if you want to read something, and perhaps something a little less ranty and more nuanced, you can always read my past thoughts about Good Friday and Easter Sunday until my mood improves. Or not, snort.
Well, back in my I-wish-I-were-a-hippie days (late 80s if I remember correctly), I often wore cotton skirts way below my knees but not quite long enough to hide my hairy legs, and while I wasn't surprised by people being surprised, I was taken aback by the amount of anger it generated. The hair on my legs not only grossed some people out, it really upset them. And while it never bothered anyone that I was in a personal relationship with, I can't tell you the number of strangers (men, women, of all ages) who would approach me and angrily demand to know why I didn't shave. My legs were a personal affront to them, and they sure let me know it. Although it was annoying at the time (and I soon gave up skirts altogether), I was also quite fascinated by the response and tried to figure out what was going on.
What I had done, of course, was breach public convention and upset the status quo. I had tampered with the notion of what a woman's body should look like and how she should present herself. In short, I had made people uncomfortable. It gave me a taste though of what it might be like to be pregnant and have strangers make remarks about something that is none of their business, or what it would be like to have a visible disability. But while folk don't usually get mad at expectant mothers or people in wheelchairs, choosing to flaunt convention sometimes made me feel I should get ready for a public flogging.
But what specifically does this have to do with veganism? Well, as you already know, daring to be different comes with a price. Seeing someone who doesn't look or eat the way you expect others to look and eat can be upsetting. And if something as innocuous and impersonal as a woman not shaving can send someone right out of their comfort zone (and forget their manners), then you can imagine how charged a topic food can be. While someone can easily dismiss a hairy faux pas, tee hee (after all, if every decent woman knows enough to shave then I don't have to think of this as an issue), eating is a bit too close to home. Most omnivores probably don't think too much about food beyond financial and health implications, and likely rarely consider that there may be political, environmental and animal-welfare consequences of their food choices until they encounter vegans. Seeing or hearing about someone who eats very differently but who belongs to a similar group can be jarring, especially if they do so because they don't want to consume animals. Because what does that imply or say about your own food choices? Not as easy to dismiss anymore.
And remember the popular slogan of the women's movement the personal is political? It was and still is, but the culinary is political too, and perhaps even more so.
In many ways, femininity really is a social construction. Men, for the most part, are thought of as male without having to do too much extra. Get up, get dressed, get out the door, and you're not likely to be accused of not being masculine enough. Women on the other hand are required to take additional, and I would argue artificial, steps before showing up in public. Remove all body hair except for what grows on your head. Sorry, but if it wasn't natural for hair to grow in certain places, it wouldn't grow there. Head hair needs inordinate amounts of attention to be considered presentable: washed, dried, styled, gelled, sprayed, coloured, tinted, trimmed, and if female, not cut too short. But you're not done yet. Jewelry, accessories, shoes and clothes need to be picked out carefully. Ever notice how fashion shows and magazines are obsessed with women's clothes being feminine enough? But when was the last time you heard men's shirts being referred to as masculine, or that "masculinity" is the trend for this season? And staying away from the topic of cosmetic surgery to "improve" women (a whole post unto itself), what is natural about putting man-made colour onto nails, cheeks, lips and eyelids in order to be thought of as suitably feminine?
Now I'm not arguing here that women shouldn't shave, or pay attention to their hair, or wear makeup, but to just be aware that these are artificial constraints. And that what is considered feminine has been commodified, because sadly, appearance is still viewed as one of the most important aspects of being a woman. When was the last time you saw a female newscaster who wasn't attractive? Who wasn't wearing makeup? Just saying.
Gosh, haven't had a feminist rant like this in a long time. I feel quite refreshed, snort. Thanks for listening. ;)
A good question indeed and the title of New Vegan Age's essay challenging Christians to consider going vegan. Now, we actually discussed this piece while it was being written, and there were a few things I would have liked to see in it which do not appear, and a couple of things that I actually disagree with. So, closer to Easter, I'll be giving you my own take on why more Christians aren't vegan, but please do read Tom's essay here.
In the meantime, I'm also working on: an expansion of a discussion I had with veganelder about finding a new category for animals in the property vs. person debate (for those of you who don't read the comments, tsk tsk -- you know who you are -- that's where some of the interesting stuff really happens), a resurrection of sorts (eek, bad Easter joke) of the paradox of being vegan series, white privilege, human privilege, and all sorts of privilege (also originating from a comment), the deceptively titled "one thing you can do to help veganism", and the most striking sentence I read last year.
Whew! I'm gonna be busy, but luckily I have much less time on my hands these days, which oddly enough has resulted in my being that much more focused. So, stay tuned!
As you know, I've been playing with elevator pitches of late, and I've concluded that I may need as many pitches as there are circumstances, snort. And while I still like the last one I came up with, I'm thinking now that it's just too general. What I really want to convey right away is the WHO of my concern, so I've decided that I'm vegan because I don't want to support animal cruelty might just be more on the mark.
Obviously, as a vegan, I don't support animal use either, but since other vegans aren't going to be asking me why I'm vegan, I need to tailor the message to the audience. So, depending on whom I'm speaking to, I want a variety of pitches handy but with the focus being on other beings rather than health or environment. Therefore, future pitches might include:
On one of my favourite tees, I like how this graphic shows the multi-dimensional nature of veganism and some of the many branches of social justice. It really is all connected, and until we reexamine the pillars of power and profit, we all pay the price.
So let's take meat (and all animal products) out of the picture altogether. It takes far too much water to produce animal-derived foodstuffs, and from an environmental perspective, it just doesn't make sense. But let's say you don't give a toss about the environment, and let's say you don't believe we should be wasting time and energy on animal rights when there are so many more pressing and important human issues. Fine, then let's start with water.
Water. We need it, we're made of it, and no single living entity can survive without it.
It's a basic thing, right? So why isn't it also a basic right? Again, let's forget for a moment about those pesky animals that vegans are always going on about. What about the right for all humans to have access to clean safe water? And if so many around the world are going without, is it ethical to be pumping all that water into food items that aren't healthy and aren't necessary? And what about water privatization? Not surprisingly, there are corporations who want to make money off of a substance that should be a basic human right. Perhaps the air we breathe is next?
So even if the only thing you care about in relation to water is that all people on this planet have enough to drink (we're not even talking about the starvation issue here), then one of the first steps you need to take is to go vegan. It's time we rethink the ethics of water, reconsider our current consumption mode, and acknowledge that water isn't a market resource, but part of a natural living ecosystem that all beings depend upon.
Because I'd like everyone to go vegan RIGHT NOW, and can't understand the apathy and complacency of those who still eat animals. Especially if they've been exposed to at least some of the facts of animal agriculture. And because being vegan is so my normal, and so the world I've inhabited for more than five years, I want others to hurry up and get there already. But it may be wise for me to remember the following:
So if it took me that long before I could even see, let alone connect, the numerous dots, then perhaps I need to practice the skill of patience and not demand that others become wise in far less time than I did?
I'll stop being a feminist when no woman or child is ever sold or murdered. Or raped. Or beaten. Or called a slut. Or brutalized in any of the other seemingly unlimited ways. Or denied access to abortion. Or when there are no longer groups of people who don't believe women have the right to reproductive freedom. Or equality.
I'll stop being a feminist when no one is actually afraid of the word feminist anymore, and all the corrective societal actions that this word entails are complete.
I'll stop being a vegan when no other animal is ever sold or murdered. Or artificially impregnated. Or called a whore. Or kicked, punched, or brutalized in any of the other seemingly unlimited ways. Or denied access to their babies and mothers. Or when there are no longer groups of people who don't believe that animals are sentient beings with the right to live their lives free of human exploitation.
In short, I'll stop being a feminist when International Women's Day becomes as redundant, and as ridiculous sounding as International Men's Day* would be. I will, however, never stop being vegan no matter how deliciously vegan this world becomes.
*Oops, just found out there IS an International Men's Day. Hmmm, and here I thought EVERY day was their day, snort. Okay, I'm likely being a little unfair here. And as long as at least part of IMD focuses on gender equality and improving gender relations, then I suppose they can have their one day. ;)